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|Letís go on record and say the stories of Turnerís demise have been greatly exaggerated. There hasnít been any demise. Of course, youíre reading this because you want to know if weíre projecting his demise, right? Letís frame the arguments. Cons first. Turner had the second most carries in the league last season and he turned 30 years of age in the off-season. He has chalked up 300 or more carries in three of the last four years (he missed five games in 2009) while averaging 298 carries per year. A groin injury caused him to stumble down the stretch last season, accumulating just 280 yards and a single touchdown on 84 carries between weeks 12 and 16 before rolling over a Bucs team in Week 17 (172 yards, 2 TDs) that had clearly quit. Heading into 2012, the Falcons have said they want to emphasize the passing game more and reduce Turnerís workload with head coach Mike Smith recently stating that Turner wonít get 300 carries this season. And we all know he isnít much of a receiver with 51 receptions during his eight-year career. Pros are up. He was the 6th ranked fantasy running back last season with 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns. During his four years with the Falcons, he has topped 1,300 rushing yards every year other than the aforementioned 2009 season while also reaching double-digit touchdowns every year. While he is now 30, does that mean as much given that he carried the ball just 228 times over the first four years of his career with the Chargers? While Jacquizz Rodgers may emerge as a solid pass catching back, the jury is out on whether he is big enough to handle many carries out of the backfield and Jason Snelling is no threat to eat into Turnerís workload in a major way. Turner also set career highs in receptions and receiving yards last season (17 for 168) while also setting a career single game high in receptions with four during Week 16, proving that he might be ready to assume a larger role in the Falcons passing attack. Okay, those points, while true, are a reach but it did give me a chance to show you how much I research this stuff. The bottom line: Turner rates as a mid to upper tier fantasy backup in standard scoring leagues and a lower tier backup in PPR formats. And a tremendous value given the bad pub heís been getting in the fantasy football world.
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